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Covid vaccines via Covax to be sent only to least covered nations in Oct: WHO

A total of 49 least covered countries have been identified for allocating around 75 million Covid-19 vaccines, in a move that aims to eradicate the deficit between poorer nations where many are yet to be jabbed with the first dose, and their richer counterparts that have begun giving booster shots.
The Covax initiative has overseen the allocation of more than 500 million coronavirus vaccine doses, of which around 300 million have been shipped to recipient countries. (Reuters Photo)
Published on Oct 01, 2021 06:44 PM IST
Written by Sharangee Dutta | Edited by Poulomi Ghosh, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

The World Health Organization (WHO) has for the first time announced to allocate Covid-19 vaccines as part of Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (Covax) to the least covered countries only. The move comes as several nations among Covax’s 140-plus beneficiary states are still inoculating the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine when other developed countries have moved on to administer booster shots.

“For the October supply we designed a different methodology, only covering participants with low sources of supply,” Reuters reported quoting WHO assistant director-general for access to vaccines, Mariangela Simao during a conference presentation last week.

Displaying slides during the conference, Simao showed that among over 90 poorer countries served by Covax, nearly half had administered Covid-19 vaccine doses to less than 20 per cent of their eligible population, the Reuters report added. Meanwhile, several richer countries have already achieved 70 per cent vaccination coverage. 

As many as 49 countries, identified as the least covered beneficiary states, will be provided with nearly 75 million Covid-19 vaccines of Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson and Johnson, Sinopharm, and AstraZeneca. However, the names of the countries were not revealed by the WHO.

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The Covax initiative has overseen the allocation of more than 500 million coronavirus vaccine doses, of which around 300 million have been shipped to recipient countries.  

The requirement for Covid-19 booster doses has been a topic of controversy since August when the WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called for a moratorium on the same, even as several nations including Canada decided to do otherwise. Last month, he stressed on his viewpoint yet again, saying that he “won’t stay silent” when firms and nations in-charge of the global supply of vaccines “think the world’s poor should be satisfied with leftovers.” 

According to a latest BBC report, more than 50 countries have missed the deadline set by the WHO to vaccinate at least 10 per cent of their population with both doses of Covid-19 vaccines. The list includes Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Myanmar and Yemen, among others. 

US President Joe Biden on Monday took the booster dose of Covid-19 vaccine, encouraging his fellow country people to follow suit.

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